The Main Library on Mission Inn Avenue has a new local history librarian on staff.
Dominique McCafferty, who has been at the library for five years as the government documents librarian, took on the duties two weeks ago.
She's eager to take on the new challenge, she said, and has decided to use her expertise in applying critical methods to local history that she once applied to the Brontes and Jane Austen for her degree in English literature.
"Joining an established program is like beginning a novel on Page 105," she said. "You miss out on what happened before."
The first thing she did was start reading up on Southern California and Riverside history beginning at 10,000 B.C. to get a sense of the sweep of history. She's been feverishly cracking every dusty volume she can find in the archive for the last two weeks.
"I'm putting up Riverside timelines all over my home, getting a chronology of the area in my head," McCafferty said. "I love research and I love a challenge."
One of the challenges she wants to complete as soon as possible is to get everything in an electronic database to preserve the city's history long after the paper copies dissolve.
But even with such commitment, she admits she has a long way to go.
"I'm asking local historians and researchers, librarians and archivists for help," McCafferty said. "For the next year, I'll be going to the experts to learn from them."
According to library officials, McCafferty was right person for the right job.
"Dominique was the perfect member of the library staff to do this job," said Library Director Barbara Custen. "With her enthusiasm and work ethic, Riverside Public Library will offer the Inland Empire's premiere local history archive within the year."
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